In the context of a challenging, relevant, and engaging curriculum, Middle School students learn to assume responsibility for their own learning. With preparation for high school as their goal, students acquire skills and strategies necessary to tackle more complex academic material, learn the value of good study habits, develop sound social values in the face of complicated social experiences, and realize the benefits of contributing to a community. Students reflect regularly on how they learn and become more self-aware. As real accomplishments begin to define Middle School students, their self-confidence grows and they display greater curiosity and motivation to learn. On the path to becoming strong self-advocates, Middle School students learn how to ask for the specific supports or accommodations that allow them to do their best work.
The Middle School comprises grades 5th through 8th and relies on an Advisory system. Each Advisory is a small, mixed group of 5th through 8th grade students, who meet daily during morning and afternoon homeroom. Advisors are responsible for tracking their advisees’ academic and social progress, providing day-to-day support and guidance for the student and family, and creating a sense of community. The Advisor is in contact with their advisees’ teaching team, therapists, and specialists in their work with the student.
Across the 5th and 6th grades and across the 7th and 8th grades, students divide into smaller, homogeneous, proficiency-based groups for English Language Arts (Reading & Writing) and Mathematics. These groupings are flexible and can change according to students’ needs. Humanities and Science classes convene five and four times, respectively, each week. Study Skills are woven throughout the subject classes. Middle School students also take semester-long courses in Technology, Research, and the Arts, which are integrated with the rest of the curriculum and sequenced over four years. All students participate in a weekly Language class taught by a Language Therapist, a Social Development class taught by a School Psychologist or Social Worker, and a Self & Society class taught by faculty. The Language classes are closely integrated with students’ Reading & Writing instruction. A Language Therapist or Occupational Therapist may also push in to a subject class.